Singapore and China are poised to implement a 30-day mutual visa exemption agreement in early 2024, according to an announcement by the Singapore foreign ministry on Thursday. This move is part of the ongoing efforts to elevate their trade relationship, with both nations actively working on the implementation details.
The statement from the Singapore foreign ministry conveyed, “Both countries will work out the implementation details of the mutual 30-day visa exemption arrangement and implement it in early 2024.”
While Thailand and Malaysia already have visa exemptions for Chinese tourists, Singapore and China are now joining forces to facilitate smoother trade and travel between their nations. Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin confirmed the agreement, emphasizing that the specifics, such as the length of stay, are currently under discussion.
“At present, the competent authorities of the two countries are in close communication on specific matters,” Wang said during a news briefing. “China and Singapore look forward to the early implementation and coming into force of relevant arrangements.”
Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong, who is also the finance minister, expressed optimism about the increasing personnel exchanges between the two countries. He highlighted that flights between Singapore and China are nearing pre-pandemic levels. Wong, co-chairing the 19th Joint Council for Bilateral Cooperation (JCBC) in Tianjin, noted that the 30-day mutual visa exemption arrangement would further support the progress in personnel exchanges and strengthen bilateral relations.
In addition to the visa exemption agreement, an upgraded protocol for the China-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (CSFTA) was announced. This upgrade provides Singapore with increased market access to China’s services sectors. Notably, China will remove foreign equity limits for Singapore investors in 22 sectors, including construction, retailing and wholesale, and architectural and urban planning services.
Furthermore, the Monetary Authority of Singapore disclosed that the central bank, along with the People’s Bank of China, is initiating a pilot program. This program will enable travelers from both countries to utilize China’s e-CNY digital currency for tourism spending in Singapore and China. This move aligns with the ongoing trend of digital currency adoption in various sectors.